B-School Bulletin: Why Cambridge Analytica Is A Watershed Moment

News from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania

“Serious concerns have arisen in the past week over how social media firms guard the privacy of their users’ personal data, and how the analytics of such data can influence voter preferences and turnout. Those worries follow a whistleblower’s account to The Observer newspaper in the U.K. about how Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm with offices in London and New York City, had unauthorized access to more than 50 million Facebook profiles as it micro-targeted voters to benefit Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

“In the fallout, Facebook faces its toughest test on privacy safeguards, and its founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has been summoned by MPs in the U.K.He faces similar calls from the U.S. Congress and from India, with revelations that Cambridge Analytica worked to influence the 2016 Brexit referendum and elections in India, Nigeria and other countries as well.

“U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller is already examining Cambridge Analytica’s ties with the Trump campaign as part of his probe into Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Significantly, U.S. billionaire and conservative fundraiser Robert Mercer had helped found Cambridge Analytica with a $15 million investment, and he recruited former Trump advisor Steve Bannon, who has since left the firm. The firm initially sought to steer voters towards presidential candidate Ted Cruz, and after he dropped out of the race, it redirected its efforts to help the Trump campaign.”

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Who Suffers In A Trade War?

News from INSEAD

“When Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, business leaders assured themselves that his nationalist rhetoric was just rhetoric. Wise talking heads trotted out the phrase ‘Take Trump seriously, but not literally.’ They said his threats to revoke NAFTA trigger protectionist measures and renegotiate and abandon trade agreements such as the TPP and KORUS were all empty threats.

“Nearly a year ago, I warned that we should take Trump literally and seriously. Most U.S. presidents are acutely sensitive to the needs of their base, because its turnout can mean the difference between winning and losing, so presidents do, in fact, keep most of their promises. One of Trump’s first acts as president was to pull out of the 12-nation trade agreement, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Was this the strangled squeak of the canary in the coal mine or purely symbolic, since the deal had not been ratified by a divided U.S. Congress? Other evidence continued to accumulate – today, both NAFTA and KORUS are being renegotiated. The last chirp, sticking to the poor rapidly dying canary metaphor, is the newly imposed tariffs of 10 percent on aluminium and 25 percent on steel signed by Trump last week and a fresh announcement of US$60 billion of tariffs on a range of products exported from China.”

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Texas Ex Wins $600,000 And Makes ‘Pour Choices’ On Sixth Street

“A McCombs School of Business alumnus is making ‘Pour Choices’ on Sixth Street, opening a bar with the $593,173 grand prize he won in a poker tournament.

“Jay Lee and his three business partners opened Pour Choices two weeks ago and will hold a grand opening celebration on Friday.

“Born and raised in Austin, Lee said he has been helping his parents with their own business since graduating in 2012 with a marketing degree, delivering Chinese food for their restaurant and managing social media.”

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Why Artificial Intelligence Isn’t A Sure Thing To Increase Productivity

News from Harvard Business School

“Thinking about the fast-approaching era of artificial intelligence, employers rejoice in the increases to productivity such tools could bring, while workers are more likely to calculate the time left before R2-D2 takes over their jobs.

“’Jacques Bughin and co-researchers estimate that in the future, 50 percent of all tasks currently done by humans could be done by machine learning and artificial intelligence,’ says Prithwiraj (Raj) Choudhury, assistant professor at Harvard Business School. Overall, that could translate into a bump in global productivity by 1 percent or more.

“But it turns out that long before robots replace workers en masse, if ever, workers will be using AI-based tools to do work, as is already seen with radiologists who employ such tools to interpret X-rays and lawyers who turn to machine learning to dig out past cases that set a precedent for legal arguments.”

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Vanderbilt Announces Launch Of Marketing Hub

News from Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management 

“The Vanderbilt Marketing Hub, an initiative led by Vanderbilt Business marketing faculty in conjunction with a student advisory board, has formally launched their digital headquarters.

“The Hub is built on a three-pronged mission of education, engagement, and connection. Tailored to alumni, current students, and prospective students, it offers information on marketing-related programming, research, and career development that provides a holistic view of marketing ecosystem at Management Hall.

“’The Vanderbilt Marketing Hub is designed to service Vanderbilt scholars ­— past, present and future — who are interested in understanding the ever-evolving role of marketing within the organization,’ says Kelly Goldsmith, Associate Professor of Marketing.”

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